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orite Kentucky form of Linckorn, settling in its present spelling many years later in Illinois. Tom was taken with spasms of religion, belonging part of the time to no denomination and again to several in succession, none of which affected the truth of the statement made by his relative John Hanks: “Happiness was the end of life with him.”

On June 12, 1806, near Beachland in Washington County, Kentucky, Thomas married Nancy Hanks, the niece of Joseph Hanks of Elizabethtown, in whose shop he had learned his trade. She was an illegitimate child, sensitive, melancholy, brooding, frail, with native refinement, the rudiments of education, and delicate instincts, qualities which failed to make her marriage an

Tom, settling in Elizabethtown, continued his uneventful pursuit of ease, combining it with sufficient effort to keep the family alive. After one daughter had been born, he moved to his farm, about fourteen miles from Elizabethtown, where his wife bore a son named Abraham. To an artist who was painting his portrait Lincoln once furnished this memorandum: “I was born February 12, 1809, in the then Hardin County, Kentucky, at a point within the new county of La Rue, a mile or a mile and a half from where Hodgens Mill now is. My parents being dead, and my own memory not serving, I

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know of no means of identifying the precise locality. It was on Nolin Creek.”

This infant began life in what was called a camp, because it was made of poles. Had it been made of logs, it would have been called a cabin. It was about fourteen feet square and had no floor. Life on the frontier was not luxurious, and little Abraham's father was not the most enterprising of the settlers. However, Abraham did not care much just then, and he was but four when his father, who spent his life in moving, went onto another farm, fifteen miles to the northeast, on Knob Creek.

In 1816, when Abraham was seven, Tom took another change, this time sampling Indiana.

Gathering together everything he owned in the way of goods and family, he proceeded on horseback, aided by one wagon, to a new farm near Little Pigeon Creek, about fifteen miles north of the Ohio River, and a mile and a half east of Gentryville, in Spencer County, a village in which Abe, as he was always called, soon found company and the ideas which cluster about a country store increased by contributions from the craft which passed down the Ohio. So primitive was the country that on the journey Tom was in places compelled to cut his way through the forest. When he reached his destination he put into the hand of the seven-year-old Abe an axe, with which the boy helped make a

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clearing and build a camp. This camp was one of the proudest achievements of Tom's history. It was half-faced, which signifies that it was a shed of poles, entirely open on one side, roughly protecting the wife and two small children from the weather in the other three directions. In this shed, winter and summer, the family lived a whole year, while Tom and Abe cleared a little patch for corn and Tom built a permanent dwelling. Into this mansion he moved before it was half completed, and found it so attractive that he left it for a year or two without doors, windows, or floor. For chairs there were three-legged stools; the bedstead was made of poles stuck between the logs in the angle of the cabin, the outside corner supported by a crotched stick driven into the ground; the bedclothes were skins. When Abe went to bed, however, it was not in this, the only room in the cabin, but in the loft, on a bunch of leaves, which he reached by climbing a ladder made of wooden pegs driven into the logs. There was a dining-room table, consisting of a large, hewed log standing on four legs, and the nourishment was prepared and served by Mrs. Lincoln with the aid of a pot, a kettle, a skillet, and a few tin and pewter dishes. Abe did not always fully enjoy what this table offered him; for when his father, in one of his pious moods, asked a blessing on a meal consisting wholly of roasted potatoes, the boy is related to have ventured the comment that they were mighty poor blessings. Sometimes raw potatoes were peeled for dessert, and as wheat was rare, corn dodger served as bread. Cooking in that region was worthy of the material on which it worked.

The woods, full of malaria, breathed out frequent epidemics, one of which, the milk-sick, raging in Pigeon Creek in 1818, in October took the life of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Tom made a coffin of green lumber, cut with a whip-saw, and taking his children and a handful of Gentryville friends, buried her. The little son felt mournful over the sad and hasty spectacle, and several months later, the story goes, when a wandering clergyman happened by, the boy induced him to go along with him to the grave and give to the dead mother more solemn rites.

It is probable, however, that when Abraham Lincoln in after years spoke of his angel of a mother, or his sainted mother, it was not of this frail woman that he thought, but of the stronger and more decisive person with whom his father filled her place. Tom had wished to marry Sarah Busch when he was a bachelor, but Sarah was not impressed by his talents and chose a man named Johnson. A very few months after Nancy died Tom started for Kentucky, where his old friend was the widowed mother of three children. To her he offered himself again, alleging reformed habits and an improved worldly condition. On these representations she took him, and soon after Abraham and his sister saw their cabin approached by the most prosperous woman who had ever entered their lives. In the wagon which carried her goods were furniture, cooking utensils, and bedding of a magnificence and luxury beyond their experience. Not too much cast down by the contrast between her husband's story and his cabin, she took both him and it in hand. She forced him to put in doors and floors, and perhaps windows, which consisted of greased paper over a hole, and she taught the children some of the order and habits of civilization.

Abraham, now aged ten, was a queer, homely boy, with irregular face, coarse features, protruding ears, strong limbs, and an ambitious mind. If he had been to school in Kentucky, it was nothing to count; and although he was now eager to learn, and had the opportunity occasionally, when work was slack, to take advantage of some institution which kept open when there happened to be a floating schoolmaster, he later estimated that his entire schooling put together would add up to about one year. The wandering gentlemen who furnished the instruction needed to know something about the three R's and a good deal about the physical domination of rough boys.

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